My twin girls wanted to watch Titanic. They are almost nine and they have friends (girls) at school who are crazy for it. So we started it on Amazon Prime.
I wanted to check out the script, to see how Cameron did a few things on the page. I found a download that includes a two-page coverage for a producer at Disney, circa 1996.
The coverage is generally positive, and “scores” the script as GOOD (but not excellent), and suggests to CONSIDER (but not recommend) the writer (Cameron) and script.
I found this hilarious. This movie made $2.2 billion, won 11 Oscars, and is generally regarded as one of the most significant and culturally important movies ever made.
If THIS isn’t a RECOMMEND—what is?!?!
Now, it is true, people kinda make fun of this script—and Avatar, too—as being kinda simplistic. But that’s really beside the point.
Don’t forget, the buzz on Titanic was that it was more likely than not to be an epic, Heaven’s Gate-styled disaster. The vultures were circling!
Upon release, it was only barely the #1 movie the first weekend—Tomorrow Never Dies was arguably the bigger news. It was in the subsequent weeks and months that it became an absolute juggernaut.
I read the Titanic script pre-release when I was working part-time at a composer agency (I was canned after three weeks) and was told to clean out an office. I found a hardcopy of the script and read it cover-to-cover, that afternoon. I thought, wow, this is amazing! It is overlong but just flows, as a reading experience.
It is true that Hollywood readers are extremely careful not to recommend anything—because if their boss disagrees, then they are seen as untrustworthy.
So...I just found it funny that literally one of the top-five most successful movies of all time, the script was still a “yeah, it’s pretty good” at this stage.
Per Bill Goldman: Nobody knows anything!